Bladder Grabber 2015

Championship match combat action at the 37th annual Bladder Grabber between Bob Carver (left) and winner Ron Colombo. Daniel Johnson photo.

Big Block Battle

Seven-round Fast Combat tournament, Aug. 8-9, Snohomish, Wash.
And Half A Grabber double-elimination 1/2-A Combat contest, Aug. 7

Champion Ron Colombo gets the traditional icewater bath after the trophy preseentation. Others are (from left) Doss Porter (third place), Bob Carver (second) and Duke Johnson doing the pouring. Daniel Johnson photo.

Colombo doubles up as Nats and Grabber champion

Bladder Grabber photo gallery below

Ron Colombo of Dearborn, Mich., for the second year in a row, followed up his U.S. Nationals win by taking the top spot in the Bladder Grabber fast combat tournament.

Colombo finished the contest with a 7-2 record, scoring a kill on Bob Carver of Snohomish, Wash., in the championship match. The championship carried with it a coveted 2014 Nelson .36 engine as a prize. Carver finished with a 6-3 record and also took home a Nelson .36 for his excellent flying efforts. Doss Porter of Fresno, Calif., captured third place and another Nelson .36.

The 37th running of the most prestigious AMA Fast Combat contest drew 15 entries to Snohomish, Wash., for the traditional weekend of speed, noise, mayhem and the honor that very few Combat fliers in the world hold: Bladder Grabber winner.

It was another smoothly run contest under the management of Jeff Rein, who was the director and lead judge for the 18th consecutive year, assisted by judges Ron Enos, Buzz Wilson and Don McKay and hard work and several other helpers. Catered lunches kept contestants and spectators well fed. Weather was perfect all three days, with temperatures in the high 70s and a steady but not-too-strong breeze.

The contest format was seven rounds, followed by semifinals and finals. Four fliers ended the rounds with 5-2 records. In the semifinals, Colombo defeated Chuck Rudner of Santa Ana, Calif., and Carver defeated Porter.

A variety of airplane designs were used in both events. Engines were almost all Nelson in fast, with Daniel Johnson using Foxes. Cyclon and Fora engines were used in 1/2-A.

Porter won the Friday preliminary event, High-Performance 1/2-A Combat, winning the fourth Nelson .36 awarded at the Grabber.

Below is the Fast Combat scoreboard.

Final results for the 2015 BLADDER GRABBER Fast Combat contest (Northwest standings points in parentheses):

1. Ron Colombo, Dearborn, Mich. -- 7 wins, 2 losses
2. Bob Carver, Snohomish, Wash. -- 6-3 ( 14)
3. Doss Porter, Fresno, Calif. -- 6-3
4. Chuck Rudner, Santa Ana, Calif. -- 6-4
5. Jeff Rein, Covington, Wash. -- 4-3
John Thompson, Eugene, Ore. -- 4-3
Gene Pape, Eugene, Ore. -- 4-3
Buzz Wilson, Belfair, Wash. -- 4-3
9. Mel Lyne, Garibaldi Highlands, B.C. -- 3-4
Robert Smith, Roy, Wash. -- 3-4
Don Jensen, Pomona, Calif. -- 3-4
12. Daniel Johnson, Rochester, Wash. -- 2-5
Lee Letchworth, Rodeo, Calif. -- 2-5
Jim Green, Bellevue, Wash. -- 2-5
15. Tony Huber, Renton, Wash. -- 0-7

Final HALF-A GRABBER results (13 entries)
(Northwest standings points in parentheses)
(Match records unavailable)

1. Doss Porter
2. Robert Smith (12)
3. Jim Green (11)
4. John Thompson (10)
5. Mike Hazel
Don Jensen
Daniel Johnson
Lee Letchworth
Mel Lyne
Gene Pape
Chuck Rudner
Jeff Rein
Buzz Wilson

Bladder Grabber photo gallery

Chuck Rudner (left) and Ron Colombo fight it out in one of the two semifinals. Flying Lines photo.

Oops, there's a tangle -- but both planes are still in the air. Daniel Johnson photo.

Don Jensen launches for Chuck Rudner in that same semifinal. Daniel Johnson photo.

Doss Porter was one of the fliers to beat all weekend. At left he's seen in a 1/2-A Grabber match with Robert Smith; at right, that's his semifinal in the main event, flying against Bob Carver. Flying Lines photos.

Another shot of Doss at work, this time against Buzz Wilson in 1/2-A. Gene Pape photo.

Two combat legends relaxing in the shade: at left, Bob Carver, longtime Bladder Grabber sponsor, and at right Norm McFadden. Gene Pape photo.

Gene Pape fuels his 1/2-A Combat plane as Beaver State Combat Team member and pitman Mike Hazel stands by. Flying Lines photo.

Preparations in the pits: Mel Lyne prepares to start his Nelson .36 for a needle-setting run while Duke Johnson holds. Flying Lines photo.

Don Jensen's plane is up first in a match against Mel Lyne; Ron Colombo launches after Chuck Rudner's start. Flying Lines photo.

In the semifinals, the format changed from the pit crew start to pilots starting their own engines, to assure that one plane would be up first and reduce the chance of ties in case of a midair collision. Above, Chuck Rudner (left) and Ron Colombo head for the handle after starting. Flying Lines photo.

At left, Gene Pape's Millennium Underdogs; at right, Jeff Rein's R&B Ripoffs. Flying Lines photos.

Don Jensen's planes at left, built by Jeff Dawson; at right, Buzz Wilson's planes, built by Buzz. Flying Lines photos.

Beaver State Combat Team pit; Gene Pape's Millennium Underdogs in front, John Thompson's Yuvenko CK fasts in back. Gene Pape photo.

Bob Carver's plane at left, Daniel Johnson's Fox-powered plane at right. Gene Pape photos.

Two of Tony Huber's planes at left; at right is Chuck Rudner's plane after a tough match. Flying Lines photos.

With everything ready for his next match, Buzz Wilson takes a break in the shade. Flying Lines photo.

Prizes await the winners. Flying Lines photo.

What it's all about: two planes and two pilots. This is a 1/2-A match between Gene Pape and Chuck Rudner. Flying Lines photo.

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This page was upated Aug. 11, 2015